You wouldn’t need a license to carry a gun in Philly under a bill gaining steam in Harrisburg

You wouldn’t need a license to carry a gun in Philly under a bill gaining steam in Harrisburg

A gun rights advocate at a rally in Harrisburg in 2019 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn email newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day. Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are pushing to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to carry a handgun. The proposal has become the latest flashpoint over gun rights in the commonwealth. Currently in Pa., you don’t need a permit to open carry a firearm — in a hip holster, for example. Carrying a concealed weapon, however, does require a license, and 1.3 million residents have one. Philly’s rules are more strict: in the city, both concealed and open carry require a license. A new bill aims to make all of those permitting requirements unnecessary. Pro-gun groups and Republican backers of the legislation say the permit process is redundant, considering background checks are already required. Law enforcement officials and gun control advocates counter it’s a necessary safeguard, especially in big cities. Removing the license requirement altogether, they argue, would pose a grave threat to both officers and citizens at a time when violence is soaring — and embolden more people to openly carry firearms on the streets of Philadelphia. Western Pa. state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, the bill’s main sponsor, had introduced similar legislation in 2019, repeating past attempts from Republican lawmakers to get rid of the concealed carry permit requirement. While previous efforts all languished in the committee phase, this bill is advancing. Bernstine’s proposal received a favorable 14-11 […]

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